WOW 2010 - Creativity WOWS record audiences

Two designers from India have taken the top award in the Montana World of WearableArt Awards Show in Wellington.

First time entrants Manas Barve and Yogesh Chaudhary won the American Express Open Section and the Montana Supreme Award with their innovative garment Loops, created from merino wool felt using a seamless knitting technique.

Barve and Chaudhary say the design conceptualises a self-sufficient form of sustainability and demonstrates an organic sense of wholeness, and mirrors the value they personally place on sustainability.

It is the second time - and the second year in a row - that the Supreme Award has been taken by an international entry, which reflects the growing importance of WOW amongst overseas designers.

Last year's winner was Alaskan carpenter David Walker whose entry, Lady of the Wood, was created entirely from mahogany, lacewood, maple and cedar. He also took out the highly coveted WETA Award in 2007. He was back again this year with his entry - Wood, Wire & Fire - which was commended in the Gen-I Creative Excellence Section

Individual section winners this year were:

  • Air New Zealand South Pacific Section - Olivia Hall (Nelson) with Mana Uha
  • Mainfreight Duffy Books in Homes Children's Section - Jane Ewers (Nelson) with Victus Libri (Who Needs Computer Games)
  • World of WearableArt and Classic Car Museum's Bizarre Bra Section - Violet Oliver (Auckland) Every Rose has its Thorns.
  • Booker Spalding First Time Entrant Award - Eve Gilliland (Otaki) Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Gen-I Creative Excellence Section: The Art of Light - Dinah and Mark Walker (Auckland) Lady La La
  • Shell Student Design Award - Luka Mues (Massey University) Shadowlands
  • Shell Sustainability Award - Keryn Whitney (Hastings) Just Hare-Say.

WOW continues to grow in importance and significance as a major fixture internationally, and one of the most prestigious art and fashion competitions in the world.

This is reflected by the fact that of the 191 garments accepted for this year's show, 61 were from international designers - the highest ever. There were 130 local entries accepted for the show.

In total there were well over 300 entries in this year's competition and a third of them were from overseas designers, both the highest ever.

The iconic show, which combines art with fashion and dance using the human body as its canvas, is the world's leading creative showcase of its type, and is now in its 22nd year.

WOW founder Suzie Moncrieff was joined on the judging panel this year by two new judges, Christchurch sculptor Phil Price and former fashion designer Doris de Pont. For the final judging, the panel was joined by Mark D'Arcy as International Guest Judge, and Sir Richard Taylor. D'Arcy is one of New Zealand's most successful creative exports and became president of Time Warner Global Media Group and senior vice president of Time Warner last year. Sir Richard is the creator and head of the Wellington-based prop and special effects company, Weta Workshop.

Sculptor Phil Price sees WOW as a serious art form.

"The combination of the creativity of the garments and the dramatic choreography of the show was mesmerising and magical," he says. "It was a powerful ride - I was taken away on a wonderful emotive journey and it was terrific!"

Continuing its unique New Zealand connection, the complete makeup for WOW is provided by New Zealand's professional makeup company, Wendy Hill Cosmetics.

Managing Director Wendy Hill says as a New Zealand makeup brand, the company is very proud to be the exclusive makeup partner of WOW, which she described as an iconic New Zealand brand.

"It is a privilege for us to be the excusive makeup supplier for this unique and hugely popular international event, which is growing bigger and more influential year by year," she says. "We think it is marvellous that WOW, as a major New Zealand brand, recognizes unique New Zealand companies and is so supportive of us and other successful New Zealand companies."

WOW CEO, Gabrielle Hervey, is delighted with the success of the association between WOW and Wendy Hill.

WOW CEO Gabrielle Hervey and Wendy Hill at Wellington's TSB Arena, home of the Montana World of WearableArt Awards Show."We have been delighted with the performance of the makeup, and the results - as seen on stage and in our photography - has been stunning. As well our performers and our team of makeup artists love it," she says.

(Photographed right WOW CEO Gabrielle Hervey and Wendy Hill at Wellington's TSB Arena, home of the Montana World of WearableArt Awards Show.)

Some further factual highlights from WOW 2010:

  • There were a record 23 entries from India
  • International designers won 13 of the 35 prizes
  • WOW designers range from dentists, architects and business analysts to sculptors, fashion designers, students and retirees.
  • Designers compete for $100,000 in prizes
  • 43,000 people saw the record 11 shows at the TSB Bank Arena in Wellington. That compares with 17,500 people at the final show in Nelson in 2004, and the 200 who attended the first show in 1988.
  • WOW contributes $15.2 million to the Wellington economy according to an economic assessment
  • Two thirds of attendees come from outside Wellington and 80% of its audience are women.

WOW 2010 was a stunning success and a tribute to the innovation and skills of many talented New Zealanders, including the Nelson-Marlborough area representative of the Association of Beauty Therapists of New Zealand, Lisa Davis of About Beauty at Monaco in Nelson, who designed and initially supervised the makeup.


More than 50 makeup artists and hairstylists work on the show, mainly students and tutors of the Diploma in Beauty Therapy at the Wellington Institute of Technology. Our photo (right)

shows the WelTec students with Wendy Hill (centre) and Wendy's special guests Annabelle Taylor from the New Zealand Institute Electrolysis and Beauty Therapy in Palmerston North (right of Wendy), her granddaughter Amy, Ann Smith also of the New Zealand Institute of Electrolysis and Beauty Therapy, and Lisa Davis.

Next year WOW will run a month earlier than usual and will be extended for another week from August 25 to September 10 to coincide with the Real New Zealand Festival in Wellington ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

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